Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Caroline Crawford


In 2008, a career-focused university implemented a set of faculty-led retention strategies to address a steady decline in retention. Yet, despite the implementation of this program, retention continued to decline. The purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of full-time faculty and part-time faculty regarding what aspects of the existing student retention program were falling short in the university’s efforts to identify strategies to improve student retention. The conceptual framework used for this study was Tinto’s student retention theory promoting momentum to support the examination of the perceptions of faculty to improve student retention. The research questions examined the perceptions of full and part-time faculty regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the existing formal student retention strategies and ways to improve student retention. Thirteen faculty were recruited through purposeful sampling. The participants provided insights regarding the research questions through semistructured interviews. The qualitative data analysis process consisted of manual coding and inductive thematic analysis. Findings identified five major outcomes that emerged from the study’s participant interviews: student awareness, student engagement as a retention strategy, social interaction amongst faculty and others, communication amongst faculty and students, and resources. Key findings were developed from the themes with implications for policy recommendations intended to improve the effectiveness of student retention practices and support the university’s ongoing mission of improving its workforce programs and student success. Social change implications include the increased awareness of part-time and full-time faculty associated with effective student retention strategies.